MANILA, Philippines – While the SOGIE equality law is in the works, the Duterte administration could create a commission to promote the rights of LGBTQ+ (lesbiam, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer) people.
The option was floated in the recent Malacañang meeting of President Rodrigo Duterte and Gretchen Custodio Diez, Senator Bong Go said on Tuesday, August 20.
“Go mentioned that one of the proposals that was also discussed in the meeting is the possibility of creating a commission for LGBTQ pending the enactment of a SOGIE law,” a statement from Go’s office said.
Go attended the meeting with Diez and Duterte on Monday evening. It was held a week after Diez was denied from using the women’s bathroom in a mall and then arrested, an incident which place gender equality back in the national conversation. (READ: Trans woman Gretchen Diez: I didn't think I'd be treated like a criminal)
Senator Go added that the government is eyeing holding an “LGBTQ+ convention”, which “will serve as a venue for the LGBTQ community to raise their concerns and come up with policy proposals to promote and protect their welfare.”
In a phone interview after the meeting, Diez recounted how Duterte assured her of support from his administration. Diez said Duterte had a “surprise” set for the LGBTQ+ community to be announced in the coming days.
While touted as one of the most LGBTQ+-friendly countries in Asia, the Philippines is still frequented by discrimination incidents against the queer community. The SOGIE equality bill was passed by the House of Representatives during the previous Congress, but languished in the Senate.